COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (March 3, 2001) -- Mekeli Wesley scored 25 points and Terrell Lyday hit two free throws with 5.8 seconds left to give BYU a 51-50 win over Air Force Saturday afternoon in Clune Arena.
"Today and on this entire road trip we made plays," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. " We made plays on defense and on offense. We didn't do that earlier in the season."
On BYU's final possession, Lyday penetrated from the left into the lane and drew a foul from Air Force's Jarvis Croff while putting up a one-handed leaner. Lyday, who scored 11 points with four rebounds, connected on both attempts to give BYU the lead at 51-50 with just under six seconds left. After Air Force's three attempt fell short BYU had completed its first conference road sweep of the season.
Wesley led BYU with 25 points and was the primary reason the Cougars were in position to win in the end. After having trailed by 10 points with 12 minutes remaining, Wesley scoring 11 of BYU's next 16 points as BYU pulled even at 46-46 with 2:30 left on the clock. The Cougars took the lead for the first time in the final half at 48-46 when Trent Whiting scored his only points of the game with two free throws with 1:38 remaining.
But the game started to look like it would still go the Falcons' way when center Tom Bellairs scored two baskets, the last one giving the Falcons a 51-50 advantage and included a foul by Wesley on the play. A Bellairs miss at the line set the table for Lyday's winning free throws on the other end.
Croff and Joel Gerlach paced Air Force with 12 points apiece. Lamoni Yazzie added 11 points in front of a crowd of 2,969.
The first half also had a dramatic end with BYU stepping up to make a play. With BYU trailing by three points, the Cougars called a timeout to run a play for the final shot of the half. But an execution breakdown forced forward Nate Knight to drive with the ball, resulting in an offensive foul turnover. The Falcons had a chance to go up by five, but Matt Montague came out of no where to anticipate the Falcon inbound and was able to draw a foul after a head fake on a three attempt. He made all three free throws with the clock expired to pull BYU even at the half.
"Matt didn't execute on the play and came over and apologized to me," Cleveland said. "He made up for it though when he turned around and made that steal and was able to draw the foul and make all three free throws."
BYU improved to 21-8 overall and a 10-4 conference record while Air Force dropped to 8-20 and 3-11 marks. The Cougars could still earn a portion of the conference regular season title if UNLV defeats Wyoming later tonight. A Wyoming win give the Cowyboys the title and leaves BYU tied with Utah for second place.
The Cougars could be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed and play either San Diego State or Air Force in next week's Mountain West Conference Basketball Championship in Las Vegas. The tournament begins Thursday.